Something To Think On: Chapter 15
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

M/I. Post-BDM. The things we risk and the things we hide.


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Something To Think On
by clio
Chapter Fifteen

Before Shadow, he hadn’t been a man much prone to rage. A body who knew the man he was now – a man who seemed to get angrier and angrier with each passing day – would have a hard time recognizing him in that fresh-faced young’un who’d passed his days cow-herding and listening to his momma’s jazzy Earth-That-Was tunes. Back in them days, he’d been free spirited and curious. He’d wanted to see the universe, so he’d gone off to do some schooling. Told the girl in the farm around the bend he was so keen on that he’d be back. But he wasn’t, for a long time. And then Shadow didn’t exist anymore.

“Mal, Alliance checkpoint coming up.” Jayne’s voice – over the wireless. (Though the ship was so small he could just about, from where he was in the galley kitchen – drinking her stupid tea, didn’t know why’d he’d brought it along – hear the merc’s voice carrying from the bridge.)

Took him all of five steps to get there. “Any signs we should be worried?”

Jayne looked over his shoulder. “Naw, not really. Credentials sent us clean through the last one.”

That had been yesterday. Had that been the day he’d found River in the infirmary, the day he fought Simon? Yes, it was the same day he’d had to explain to a disgruntled Jayne Cobb just why the girl was on board. He’d had brief snatches of shuteye since then but nothing you’d rightly call sleep. He reckoned the last time he’d slept – really slept – had been on that red sofa, back on Serenity, right at the start of all this. He breathed a deep breath. “We need anything else for this one?”

Jayne grunted. “Well, you got us a destination more exact than ‘the Core’? Seems to be that right there’s gonna flag us up as not quite on the level.”

Shook his head to get himself out of his haze. “Uh – yeah. Yeah. Simon said – Osiris. We’ll find this doctor on Osiris.”

Jayne cocked an eyebrow. “Osiris? Thought you said this fella was on Ariel.”

He closed his eyes, trying to focus on Jayne past his exhaustion. “I did. I did. That’s what that priestess on Sihnon told me. But Simon did some looking into it. Says we want to be headed to Osiris. Alliance postal code – I can’t quite remember.”

The merc furrowed his brow (or, seemed to him he did – all was looking a mite blurry). “Mal, you okay?”

He squeezed his eyes shut and took a couple breaths. “Yeah. Yeah. I just feel a little – think I’m just tired. Listen, can you handle this? I’m gonna go lie myself down for a few minutes.”

The gunhand looked a little skeptical, but he shrugged. “Sure thing, Mal. I’ll let you know if we run into anything sticky.”

And then he was stumbling out the door and toward his room. It was funny how sudden weariness could catch up with a body.

As he was pushing open the hatch to his bunk, he caught sight of the girl out of the corner of his eye. She cocked her head. “It’s just as well. You wouldn’t have liked what he has planned.”

Just made it into the room and to the bed before he collapsed. That was the last thing he knew for a long time.


Funny how, after all that rage he’d felt, after Miranda, it was like none of it ever happened. Like he’d imagined all them waves. Imagined all them looks and laughs and –

After the signal went out, the Operative had given them a tow to a repair yard on Persephone. They’d stayed there just over a month, the Operative doing his part – paying off the people he needed to, Mal expected – to keep them from being noticed.

He’d kept mostly to himself in those early days. Didn’t much want to face any of them, so he avoided those spaces where he might wind up seeing other folk: the bridge, the galley, the cargo hold. Didn’t want to face the disapproving looks. Didn’t want to face Zoe’s tearlessness. Didn’t want to face the emptiness of a ship without Wash.

Six days after they got to Persephone, they went together on one of the Operative’s shuttles to Haven: took the bodies of their friends and laid them to rest. Try as he might to find blame in their eyes, he couldn’t.

In the dust of Haven, Simon held Kaylee’s hand. He noticed.

Next day, he made his way toward the galley to grab some food to take back to his bunk, and he heard their girlish giggles through the door. “So, have you been with him, yet?” Inara’s voice (that teasing lilt in it).

The responding giggle was Kaylee’s. “Nooo. But he – ever since he told me, he keeps on lookin’ at me. You know, a sexy look.”

Took a step closer to the hatch and leaned against it, arms crossed, just watching them. They were sitting at the galley table, mugs of steaming liquid between them. Kaylee was in her coveralls, hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, a smudge of grease on her cheek. The other was sitting across from her, her long dark hair falling down around her face. Most times it wasn’t like that – most times she pulled some or all of it up and away, swept it into something that looked formal and prepared. With her hair down, though, she looked younger, softer – someone he might even be able to reach if only he tried.

Now, she let out a soft laugh, one eyebrow quirked upward. “Simon with a sexy look? I think, dearest Kaylee, that I can safely say I have never seen this look.”

He could see Kaylee’s head tilt, her face screw up. Timidly: “Really?”

The Companion smiled and reached across the table to take hold of her hands. “Really, mei mei.”

Kaylee heaved a sigh. “Well, every time he does it I turn into a regular mess – blubbering and the like – and have to run off. He must think I don’t have no sense at all!”

With a disapproving tilt of her head, her voice all soothing indulgence: “I’m sure he thinks nothing of the sort.”

“Oh, ‘Nara,” the mechanic pouted, drawing out her name. “I don’t know how you do it so easy.”

A ghost of a smile; her eyes big and brown and seeming genuine perplexed. “Do what, mei mei?”

And he reckoned if she didn’t know what it was she did, then that right there was most of the problem. Her, with all her training and skills, with all the men (and women) she’d practiced on, didn’t know how seamlessly it slipped into her every day. The seducing. She’d talked to Kaylee like she had no idea the doctor might feel something for her, like it would never even cross her mind. Maybe, he thought, maybe that was because it didn’t.

Kaylee, bless her little candid mouth, spelled it out for her, still in that little pouty voice. “You know – your seducin’. I just can’t manage to keep it together around him.” She grinned. “Always reckoned the good thing about having a bona fide Companion on board would be I could learn a thing or two about seducin’. Guess I forgot to pay attention.”

Inara shook her head (her hair bouncing a bit around her face); shook Kaylee’s hands in hers on the table. “But mei mei, you don’t need to seduce him. He cares for you. Perhaps he loves you. You don’t need to be anything but yourself, with your giggles and your grease smears.” A thumb to the mechanic’s cheek, then, swiping at that bit of black. And then a pause, and her eyes dropped, and her voice went soft. “Seduction is what a woman does when she can’t count on any of that. She creates a disguise.”

“I never much thought about Companionin’ like that before.”

“Like what?”

“Like – sad.” Her face was quirked into a troubled little frown. “‘Nara?”

“Yes, mei mei?”

“You ever – you ever think about –” She stopped.

“We can’t all have what you have, mei mei. Some of us will be doomed to deal in disguises forever.” A beat. “Now go find that boy of yours immediately.”


He came to awareness just once, brief, before everything started to unravel later. His eyes fluttered open, and the only thing in his vision was a huge pair of brown eyes staring straight at his.

“His amygdala is functioning properly.”

But when he closed his eyes, everything went back to black.


Kaylee’d gone – rushed out of the galley lickity split, he reckoned to go (at the Companion’s prompting) find her doctor.

He stood for a few seconds outside the galley doorway, watching her, before heading in. She was still sitting there, eyes down on the table but not looking at it. Something a mite sad in her eyes.

“Shouldn’t be encouragin’ her.”

She started a bit in surprise; pulled her shawl tight around her shoulders as her head whipped around toward him. “What?”

He turned his back to her as he rummaged through whatever ersatz coffees they’d picked up of late (not really seeing the labels much though). When he answered her, he tried to sound casual. His voice came out harder than he meant. “Last thing I need’s a soap opera on my ship. Last thing Zoe needs.”

She eyed him. “Have you asked Zoe what she needs?”

Zoe’d been at the front of all of their minds, he reckoned. Or she should’ve been (should’ve been on Kaylee’s, too, instead of the boy). She’d been working herself ragged on Serenity – welding this, wiring that – and, when she wasn’t working, she was tucked away in the bunk she’d shared with Wash. She made her pleasantries in passing, but that was it.

Right then, it made him angry – her talking about Zoe, his Zoe, like he was doing something wrong by his first mate, like she somehow understood better. He turned around, slow, his body tense. “Don’t you talk like you belong here, Inara. You’re a visitor. That’s it. You left, and you’ll be leavin’ again soon as we get up and runnin’.” A beat, and he took a step forward. “Which means, by my lights, that if there’s a fallout from this thing – if that boy abandons her, like I expect he’ll do – I’m the one’s gotta clean up the mess. Not you. Me. So I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your opinions out of her ears.”

She frowned up at him from where she still sat at the table; spoke quietly. “I don’t know why you think so ill of him.”

And that should’ve come as no surprise, because she was always defending him, but it still smarted some. Because that was what she wanted to say? After he told her, in so many words, to leave, it was his opinion of the boy she wanted to speak on? His voice tinged with a sort of bitter sarcasm: “Aw, shucks, you know me. Them pretty, smart boys, them that dance well and kiss even better? They’re just not my type.”

She surprised him then by standing, sudden. Took a quick step toward him, her shoulders set, her dark eyes hard, focused right on him. She was angry. He was glad. Must’ve meant something, that she still bothered getting angry.

And what she said was: “That’s because no one is. No one’s ever good enough for the great Malcolm Reynolds. Everyone falls short in your book. Simon and Kaylee are tired, Mal. Tired of just existing. They want to live. So they try, but you blame them for the fact that they can’t live up to your oh-so-lofty expectations. You begrudge them for wanting to live, because you don’t.” A beat, and her eyes hadn’t wavered from his. “And Mal? That’s why you’ll always be alone.”

Felt like he’d been slapped. He watched her for a second. “Soon as we can leave, you’ll be off my ship.”

She tilted her head, the eyes that watched him still dark as the black. “You think Zoe’s like you, but she’s not. Zoe wanted to live, because she had someone that she loved.” And then she was gone.


When he woke up, his head was pounding. It took more than a couple seconds for him to piece together – coming in here, collapsing. He looked at the bedside clock in his room. Studied the time and date for a good minute.

One day. He’d been asleep a day.


He made it out of his bunk and to the little infirmary down that narrow hall in just a blink and thank God in heaven she was still there, lying on the table at that edge of the room, where he’d spent all the night before (or the night before that?) watching her.

She wasn’t alone.

River was lying alongside her, curled around her like a child against its mother, her dark hair splayed against the other’s pale arm. When he walked in, she opened her eyes but didn’t move; watched him as he moved into the room.

“River –” He reached a hand toward her, palm out, like to calm her. “You want to tell me what happened?”

She hadn’t moved, but it seemed like her muscles had tensed. “You went to sleep.”

A deep breath. “After that.”

The girl followed him with her eyes. When she spoke, her breath ruffled the Companion’s hair. “Jayne fell down and broke his crown....”

He swallowed. “Where is he? Where’s Jayne? Did you hurt Jayne?”

A slight shake of the head – almost unnoticeable. “Went to bed to mend his head with vinegar and brown paper.” Her voice intoned the rhyme in a sing-songy lilt.

Took another step toward her. “And where’s your brother?”

She closed her eyes, and when she spoke again her voice was a high. “He went to the other end of the wave.”

And he was off to the bridge, to check the Cortex’s communications log. As he left, she was mumbling a tuneless lullaby. “Hush, little baby, don’t say a word. Bábá’s gonna buy you a mockingbird....”


First time he saw them kiss was that afternoon. He was headed down to the infirmary so the doctor could check on his eye (the red in it from his fight with the Operative less than it had been but still visible), but he stopped on the stairs when he saw them.

They were standing in the living area outside the infirmary face to face, Kaylee’s eyes closed, her arms at her sides, her head tilted up to him. The boy’s hands were at her cheeks, his fingertips grazing over her forehead, her nose, her eyelids, her lips, like he wanted to memorize the contours. And he was looking down at her with reverence, like he’d never seen anything quite like her in the world.

He nearly tripped as he backed back up the stairs. They didn’t seem to hear him.

But he thought for some time after that about wanting to live, and whether she was right about him. Whether, somewhere along the line, he had forgotten what that meant.


On the Cortex screen at the back of the bridge, Simon’s face appeared (wearing those secret agent spectacles, not lost after all, it seemed). He looked anxious; ran a nervous hand through his hair while he waited for an answer on the other end of the wave.

It didn’t take long. The man that answered was middle-aged, with salt and pepper hair. His dress was Core, and fancy Core at that: a Sihnonese robe over a three-piece suit. But he didn’t seem near so composed as his dress suggested he should be. His eyes gleamed with something like desperation. “Simon – we’ve seen news of you, news of River. The media are suggesting you may have something to do with the broadwave that’s gone out. Where are you?”

The boy swallowed once, but that nervous look had left his face as soon as the man answered (replaced by calculating calm). He took a deep breath, and, when he spoke, his voice was strong, his words coming slow and deliberate. “You told me you wouldn’t come for me again. You told me I was on my own. Did you mean it?” (The last line not so much asked but spoken at the man.)

The man looked near-frantic. “Of course – of course I didn’t mean it. You’re my son, Simon. You’ll always be my son. Where are you?”

The doctor’s expression didn’t change. “I’m not ready to tell you that just yet. And don’t try tracing this wave. You won’t be able to. The location markers and contents are thoroughly encrypted.”

The man – Simon’s father – shook his head. “Simon. That’s not my intention.”

He nodded once, quick. “Its not being your intention doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Are you being watched by the Alliance?”

Strongly: “No.”

“I don’t believe you.”

The man pushed a hand through his hair. “They were – they were monitoring me, for a time. When you and River first disappeared. But since the broadwave –”

“I need to meet with you. Urgently. We should assume the Alliance is still watching you. I’ll give you a location, and I’ll come alone. I will not allow you to lead them to River.”

“Simon, you’re scaring me. What’s this about? Are you both all right?”

A short nod. “We’re fine.” He stopped, then, and was silent for so long it seemed like maybe he’d changed his mind, wasn’t going to say any more. But then his eyes shifted down and back up to meet the man’s.

“It’s about your daughter,” the boy said.

The man closed his eyes. “You just said River was fine.”

“She is.” What he said then wasn’t anything Mal would’ve ever expected. “It’s not River I’ve come about. It’s Inara.”


end chapter 15


Thursday, July 30, 2009 12:33 AM



I had my strong suspicions, you left some little hints earlier on, and then the bit with the fits, it's just beautiful, the way you've painted Simon the last few chapters, he doesn't think Mal is good enough for his sister :) I'll be back with more, but I had to send this, I am so excited!

Thursday, July 30, 2009 12:55 AM


Mal's got to feel a right chump.

For me this was a totally unexpected reveal; so well-crafted in the build-up.

Love this too and am turning over all the possible plot developments in my mind. It's not Regan who can help; it's Gabriel. I'm remembering your question about genetics...

Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:17 AM


I realize this is a whiny thing to say, but I'm actually a little bit disappointed that they're apparently siblings. I was loving how Mal dealt with the idea of a romantic connection in Inara's live, vs. how he feels about her job.

I mean, this is a really well-crafted reveal, shocking as hell, and makes for good story! I'm looking forward to seeing it play out, especially considering the coincidence of Simon ending up on the same ship as Inara (was it one?), when he found out and how, whether Inara knows, River's closeness to her... I'm going to miss how it all connected in my head before, though, when it wasn't about being biologically related.

Also.. wow. Simon just took off and knocked out Jayne? Or how did Jayne hurt his head? Can this end well? Oy!! Looking forward to the next part!

Thursday, July 30, 2009 4:10 AM


Well, but AR, wasn't the romantic connection just always something Mal was imagining? Even if Simon wasn't her brother?

Clio has only removed something with this that wasn't there in the first place. It was interesting to explore, but ultimately the Simon Inara relationship, just like in the series, was only the product of Mal's doubts and insecurities. The jig is up, and Mal can't lie to himself anymore, at least about that. It had to happen sometime.

And this has completely floored Mal, I'm sure. I wonder what humble pie tastes like?

When Clio approached me to beta some of her work a few chapters ago, and told me about this idea she had, I encouraged her, because I loved the idea and thought that it explained a lot about their relationship, that it had a lot of potential, and that it tied Simon, Inara, and River's seemingly separate storylines together tidily. So if anyone really wants to blame someone, here I am.

Hey, Clio, gotta ask, WHAT HAPPENED? Did your other account blow up? Stories glitched out and gone? :(

Well, just gives me an excuse to read through again and leave all sorts of raving praise. >_> And possibly graffiti. I'm flexible that way. (kidding!)

Although I'll miss some of the discussions that we had posted in the others, I still go back and read them sometimes for ideas.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 5:08 AM


What I liked about it was that it put Inara in an intimate emotional relationship with another man, (romantic or platonic) basically shown capable of "giving", in the sense Mal explores earlier. I liked how Mal had to deal with the fact that she is capable of that, and how Simon kept pointing out that the things that went messy with Mal and Inara were not all about her disease, or her cruelly rejecting him as inferior, but also about how he treated her. Basically, Mal working his way out of self-pity and toward a more self-aware choice.

Having that emotional bond be based around a sibling relationship kind of lessens that impact and places Simon from mirroring Mal's position into a protective "inner circle" brother role. It sort of retroactively evaporates what I enjoyed as a legitimate uncertainty on Mal's part. Humble as he may feel now, I bet there's a certain amount of relief, too. Inara isunambiguiously romantically "untouched". Irks me. :)

But as I said, this won't stop me from enjoying the series now! I, too, adore the exchange between Mal and Inara about Zoe, how emotionally raw they both are to hurl these cruel things at each other. And how it still ends up making Mal think. Also, how we are slowly approaching his mindset at the beginning of this series when he ends up finding her. Coming full circle. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009 5:30 AM


But... She has always been romantically untouched, both in the tv series and in Clio's. The relationship has always only been in Mal's head. Haven't we been posting comments like, Oh Mal, it's not like that, stop torturing yourself, why are you having such a hard time seeing this?

Maybe you never did, and I never noticed? Still. I thought that was the common sentiment.

Although interesting comment on how Simon's relationship reveals that Inara IS capable of giving, just not to Mal... And I ask you, why does that change if it turns out Simon is her brother? Inara WAS giving to Simon, maybe not in the romantic sense that Mal philosophizes about earlier, but it doesn't change that she wasn't giving to Mal. It doesn't change that even if Inara is sick, that Inara has found something about Mal inadequate for her to share her life with.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 5:46 AM


In fact, I'm interested in seeing what kind of mind twist Mal comes up with now to convince himself that Inara really doesn't care about him.

Because he will. He will still think... But, if she's not in love with Simon, or anyone else, why is she still not in love with me? Why am I inadequate?

A lot more truthful, and painful line of thinking for him to be dwelling on.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 5:53 AM


I never saw their relationaship as brotherly, so I guess I didn't share the common sentiment. I didn't see their relationship as romantic, exactly, but as an ambiguous mix between platonic and romantic without any sexual urgency attached. I enjoyed it that way.
And I do think that the sibling relationship changes things quite a bit. It makes that bond more expected, less grown out of mutual affinity and more out of automatic common ground. So "giving" to a sibling is still a lot different than to someone she could theoretically have a completely neutral relationship with.

I felt that Mal slowly came to realize that Inara may have shied away from giving to him, not because of some unchangeable defect in him, but because he actively discouraged it, even though he thought he hadn't. His memories of Wash and Simon pointing that out. Inara being open to an emotional connection with not-sibling Simon would illustrate that more strongly than a close connection to sibling Simon because that's a pre-arranged bond that Mal could not possibe share (nor want to).

Thursday, July 30, 2009 5:53 AM


Okay, where to start? Boring stuff: account logistics. You know, it's so silly, but I realized that there was an older user than me who had an account alias that was almost identical to mine (it was "cliomuse"). They haven't been here for about six months, so I didn't know that, but they'd posted fanfiction and had been active here for a number of years. On huge sites, you expect that other peoples aliases will be quite close to your own. But this is such a small site. I figured there was no reason not to change it. I have all of those conversations saved, though, and would be happy to either email them to whoever wants them or post links to them on my LJ.

So, now I have some 'splainin' to do. I always wanted the romantic angle to be something Mal was creating in his own head. Simon indicates several times that he's not interested in her in that way, and Mal seems to ignore him each time. I started tinkering with the sibling stuff in my head kind of early. It first entered the writing in chapter 11. Simon's interest in her well-being was too strong to be simply explained by friendship, and for various reasons I didn't like the idea of him being romantically interested in her. When I fleshed out Inara's backstory it became clear to me (in the way that it does when stories take a like of their own!) that, if they weren't siblings, Simon at least THOUGHT that they MIGHT be siblings, that there was something in his own past that made him think this was a possibility; that maybe he even hoped it was true. So I toyed around with writing that: that Mal realizes that Simon has always THOUGHT this (in part because I thought there was no possible way I could explain away the coincidence of them ending up on Serenity). But I think that was wrong for a number of reasons, and I think the coincidence will be explained.

The thing about Inara's character, as I'm writing her, AR, is that part of what's completely fundamental about her, because it's predicated on her understanding of what she is due to her illness, is that she IS romantically untouched. Because Mal's troubles with Inara aren't ALL in his head. She has her hand in all this, too. Mal's been able to pin the blame on Simon and to conflate her resistance to him with her sexuality and sexual interest in others. I think it will be challenging to him to try to look past that. Another challenge that this development poses is that it makes Simon someone with a legitimate interested in Inara which Mal has to acknowledge. When they clash over what's best for her (which they will), he can't simply assume Simon has no rights in the situation. I think that, in the context of Inara dying, that will be another big challenge.

Anyway, it has been coming for a while, and I know that it makes it something of a different story than you might have been expecting. I'm glad you're going to stick with it though. I'll just be happy if no one gives me a "1." :-)

Also, thanks to Aliasse for reading this for me!

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:00 AM


Also, Bytemite, I think they say don't ever take the blame for other people's mistakes.

Also, remember re: the automatic nature of sibling connection that we don't know how long they've known or if Inara knows at all. All of that will be explored.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:01 AM


Re: updates. Nothing for two weeks. I'm sorry; I'm going on vacation. But I should have something for you right when I get back! Maybe a couple chapters.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:17 AM


AR: Well, I'm not saying I myself didn't enjoy the ambiguity of Simon and Inara's relationship. It's actually influenced some of my writing. So the Simon Inara HAS been fun! :) I didn't mean to sound like I was attacking you, or that you should think the way everyone else does. I'm just a little surprised by your sentiments is all.

As for Mal realizing he's been discouraging her, I'll have to reread the last few chapters. If that was mentioned, I've forgotten it. ^_^'

Clio: Ah, yes, I like the way you explained that. Brings me back to that little moment in Our Mrs. Reynolds that I like so much, when Inara is so upset by Mal's casual comments about having children. There's a lot that I think she's had to give up out of not wanting to hurt anyone, and out of the life she believed she couldn't have.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:32 AM


The return of the series the ruined my life and made me a loathsome Mal/Inara shipper...awesome!

And Mal, don't stop torturing yourself.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:42 AM


No one ever gets a 1. The lowest I've seen is 7. Damning.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:43 AM


I wish there wasn't a rating option, actually.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:48 AM


Yeah, I guess I read Simon's investment in Inara's health as a struggle with the unfairness of the world, since he has little way to fully fix River, he doesn't want to give up on someone else who is doomed.

And I absolutely don't think that Inara is blameless in all this. She's motivated by her illness. I never saw her as 100% romantically untouched, though, in spite of her illness. Even if she's not planning for it, I think some part of her longs for romantic love and would have more easily accepted it from someone less complicated, who could have shared her last years and convinced her he could handle it. Mal... so obviously cannot, and even if she weren't dying, there's vast conflict. I took that complicated conflict, most of all, as the reason Inara rejects Mal, not a 100% refusal to end life in a loving relationship.

But that's just how I read it. This is going elsewhere, so... whatever. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:46 AM


I actually kind of forget to rate most times... *sucks air through teeth* Yeah...

But it's kind of an arbitrary thing anyway, you know? What's the difference between a 9 or a 10? Pshaw.

I like that too AR, and I think there's definitely some truth to that. I guess we have to wonder, just how much would someone have to prove to Inara that they could handle her illness and death before she accepted being in a relationship with them? And would that willingness bring up uncertainty about long-term commitment and the strength of their feelings?

Thursday, July 30, 2009 2:45 PM


Well, I like this little twist and I think it is the kind of tweak that Joss himself would have cultivated in a series, and it can translate to film easily.

My question is does Inara know or only Simon and River?

Thursday, July 30, 2009 10:56 PM


Bytemite, I don't think Inara would necessarily be untrusting of someone's intentions if they wanted to be with her. She's enough of a romantic to see that potential in people. As for proving they could handle it.. oy. I guess a generally balanced mentality would go a long way. A slow-built basis of trust and acceptance would be necessary for her to consider telling someone, methinks, so it'd be not unlike slowly getting to know Mal as shown here, only less with the fighting. I guess.

Clio - I just wanted to restate that I didn't mean to tell you how to write your story with my comment yesterday! In case it came across as that. I try being honest with my feedback and at that moment the "Wha-!" was at the forefront of my mind so I needed to put it into my comment if I wanted to review at all.. which I wanted. Because it's a great series. :)

Friday, July 31, 2009 1:13 AM


AR – no, of course not! Discussions like this in the comments help me figure out where I'm going with the story, so I always appreciate different perspectives/interpretations of the characters and how I write them, especially when they make me think about things differently. One of your comments above, for example, has been pasted into my draft as a reminder to myself for a future installment. So keep on keeping on!

Saturday, August 1, 2009 12:38 PM


"I guess a generally balanced mentality would go a long way."

*Cracks up* Yeah, I guess it would. :)

I read through the previous two chapters, and I'm not quite getting the sense that Mal realizes he is discouraging her. In the very last chapter he even said: "He wanted, more than he wanted most things, to be able to tell himself that her leaving his boat had been about her being sick – about her not wanting to cause folk grief. But her talking to Simon – and talking so intimate – it told him plain as day that her leaving wasn’t about that. It was about him."

Sunday, August 2, 2009 12:39 PM


Bytemite – this is a response to your comment on the previous chapter, because I didn't want to write anything that spoiled this chapter in the event someone reads it in the future. BUT, I assume you're referring to that really aggressive comment slung at Mal? In the end, I decided to go with it for a few reasons. First, of course he would never think such a thing about River. But Inara's older (in my schema). She's also a Companion, and so her profession invites some kind of frankness about sexuality (as does his being a doctor). The fact that they didn't grow up together makes a comment like that less obviously verboten. And, last but certainly not least, I think he was a bit fed up. It was so obvious to him why he had to be the donor (heh... I worked out their blood types) as well as why Mal wanted to that he didn't hold back.

I'm trying to think of exactly how to flesh out the nuances of Simon & Inara's relationship over the next several chapters given that I'm constrained to Mal's perspective. We'll see what I come up with!

Anyway, if that's not the comment you're referring to, then you have a long thought-stream regarding a DIFFERENT comment. :-)

Okay, off to comment on GR's new chapter before entering radio silence for a week....

Monday, August 3, 2009 6:21 AM


Yep, that's the one. I even knew this reveal was coming, since you told me, and I absolutely loved that Simon made that comment because it's so barbed. Mal needs to get pricked now and then to get him out of his tunnel vision.

But when I read it in the frame of the reveal... I don't know. I still like Simon's insult, and I don't think you should remove it. But there's insinuations there about Inara's sexuality and proclivity that even WITH her profession, and even IF they weren't brother and sister, I'm not sure I can imagine oh-so-polite Simon making. He has trouble SWEARING if he's upset and angry, something quite that nasty...?

Even though Simon and Inara didn't seem like they were close growing up, they certainly are on Serenity, and I honestly think that Inara may have INVITED Simon to come aboard Serenity, suggesting they actually were somewhat close. Considering Inara's condition, Simon's comment seems as disrespectful to Inara as it does to Mal. We know Simon disapproves of Inara's feelings for Mal, but for him to phrase it like that? Ai ya.

Monday, August 6, 2012 1:15 PM


Wow, I wasn't expecting that revelation about Inara. Makes so much sense now of how close Simon and River are to her though why that should be kept hidden is a mite baffling. Can't wait to see what happens next! Great writing, Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"


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Something To Think On: Epilogue
M/I. Post-BDM. In which your author gives you a glimmer of hope.

Something To Think On: Chapter 19
M/I. Post-BDM. The journey reaches its end.

Something To Think On: Chapter 18
M/I. Post-BDM. Beginning and ending with a kiss. Nearing the end.

Something To Think On: Chapter 17
M/I. Post-BDM. On coming full circle.

Something To Think On: Chapter 16
M/I. Post-BDM. On lying and learning to let go.

Something To Think On: Chapter 15
M/I. Post-BDM. The things we risk and the things we hide.

Something To Think On: Chapter 14
M/I. Post-BDM. On Miranda and descending into the dark. Here there be monsters.

Something To Think On: Chapter 13
M/I. Post-BDM. On making waves.

Something To Think On: Chapter 12
M/I. Post-BDM. Plotting the course.

Something To Think On: Chapter 11
M/I. Post-BDM. More on giving, and some punching.